Lung structural remodelling, characterized by myofibroblast proliferation and collagen deposition, contributes to impaired functional capacity in CHF (congestive heart failure). As the lung is the primary site for the formation of Ang II (angiotensin II), local modifications of this system could contribute to lung remodelling. Rats with CHF, induced following myocardial infarction (MI) via coronary artery ligation, were compared with sham-operated controls. The MI group developed lung remodelling as confirmed by morphometric measurements and immunohistochemistry. Pulmonary Ang II concentrations increased more than 6-fold (P<0.01), and AT1 (Ang II type 1) receptor expression was elevated by 3-fold (P<0.01) with evidence of distribution in myofibroblasts. AT2 (Ang II type 2) receptor expression was unchanged. In isolated lung myofibroblasts, AT1 and AT2 receptors were expressed, and Ang II stimulated proliferation as measured by [3H]thymidine incorporation. In normal rats, chronic intravenous infusion of Ang II (0.5 mg·kg−1 of body weight·day−1) for 28 days significantly increased mean arterial pressure (P<0.05), without pulmonary hypertension, lung remodelling or a change in AT1 receptor expression. We conclude that there is a modification of the pulmonary renin–angiotensin system in CHF, with increased Ang II levels and AT1 receptor expression on myofibroblasts. Although this may contribute to lung remodelling, the lack of effect of increased plasma Ang II levels alone suggests the importance of local pulmonary Ang II levels combined with the effect of other factors activated in CHF.

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